Wednesday, October 14, 2009

History Changing Opportunity

A brief history of our time... with Penn

It's time to really start beating the drum about Homecoming and this very crucial game against Penn.

Let me lay out some of the facts about this series and why winning on Saturday would be a truly uplifting event for the football program, the alumni, the university, and New York City.

-Columbia has not defeated Penn since 1996. This is their longest dry spell against any Ivy team.

-In that 13 year span, Penn has won four Ivy titles, Columbia has not had even one winning season.

-Penn fans seem to rub victories over the Lions in our faces much more than the folks from other schools. I have no idea why, but there it is. Perhaps it's the NYC-Philly rivalry.

-Speaking of which, what a great day for New York City sports it would be for Columbia to win over Penn in the afternoon while the crowd builds at the new Yankee Stadium, (just a couple of miles away), for Game 2 of the ALCS vs. the Angels!

-The last time Columbia beat Penn on Homecoming was 1991. I was a senior at Columbia that year. The score was 20-14. Penn's coach Gary Steele was fired after the season, but he was clearly gone after that game.

-Key wins over Penn, and the most exciting ones in the series, came in 1995 and 1996. Columbia's 1995 win over the Quakers ended what was then the nation's longest active winning streak. A very banged up Lions team came into Franklin Field a year later and pulled off a stunner in OT in the high point of that 8-2 season.

-The Lions have not won a Homecoming game since 2000. Since then, four of those Homecoming games have been against Penn and the average score has been 42-14, Quakers.

-That is not to say that every game since 1996 has been a blowout. Last year's game was especially close and Columbia appeared like the more talented team in a 15-10 loss at Franklin Field.

-This rivalry has a seminal year to examine: 1982. Coming into that season, Penn had only won one Ivy title. But the Quakers emerged as a powerhouse that year, tying for the title and never really looking back from there. Penn has been a contender almost every year ever since. On the other hand, 1982 launched a tougher era for Columbia football that the previous 26 seasons of league history. It seems Penn's jump to the top of the league somehow came at the Lions expense.

Some would argue that this is the most wide open year for Ivy football since 1982. It was so open that three teams tied for the title in Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn. If ever there was a year that Columbia could hurdle some of its longstanding rivals, it seems like 2009 is it. Hurdling Penn on Saturday would be a huge step, perhaps just as huge as Penn's miraculous last second win over Harvard at Franklin Field in 1982.

-Beating Penn by any score would send a message to the league much louder than the 38-0 shutout of Princeton two weeks ago. The Quakers are a tough team and it will not be easy, but the Lions are strong enough to win. If Columbia fans and players were tired of losing to Princeton, then we're EXHAUSTED from losing to Penn.

This must end now.

Buy your tickets now and get ready to scream your head off. Call your friends and family and get them to join you. Contact that old classmate of yours who is a cynic about Columbia football and convince them that this team is different.

Because it is different.

The 2009 Columbia Lions deserve to see you pack Wien Stadium and they deserve to hear you on every play.


At Wed Oct 14, 04:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece Jake. Remember that nasty scene three years ago at Franklin Field when some of the Penn assistants ran their mouths at our players and called our program bush league. Norries sounded off after the game, and rightfully so. Penn has by far the most obnoxious fans in the league. I would give up a Yankee championship in a heartbeat for a Columbia win this Saturday, followed by a march through the rest of the league to a championship. Remember that we play Penn, Harvard and Brown at home (as well as Yale, but I don't think Yale will be in the mix).

At Wed Oct 14, 06:55:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger brian said...

We beat Penn in 1979...Home coming......Huge crowed at Bakerfield....900th something game played in college football....very low scoring game....why do you just talk about the 90's??

At Wed Oct 14, 07:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now is our time. And its time for the students rally and support the team.

At Wed Oct 14, 09:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian- Probably because, as he says, he graduated in 1991, and would therefore not have much if any knowledge about what happened in the 1970's.

I wish this game was televised! I will be at the Brown-Princeton game, but if that game turns out to be as lopsided as I think it will be, I think I would much prefer to be in New York City on Saturday! (And this is coming from a Brown fan)

At Wed Oct 14, 09:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks Jake.

At Thu Oct 15, 12:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penn fans do seem to have a particular and unexplained enmity toward Columbia. Why is this? Over the past two decades, Penn football and men's basketball have both been highly successful while the Lions have not. Why then the hatred for all things Columbia?

My sense is that, at some level of their collective psyche, Penn students and alumni view Columbia as their most direct competition in the Ivies as far as academics and resulting prestige is concerned.

Penn people also seem to have a thing about Princeton but I think the Quakers know in their heart of hearts, in that case, they're tilting at windmills. Whatever their US News ranking, Penn will never been seen in the same light as Princeton.

That leaves Columbia as a more attainable target and as the focus of Penn supporters. Perhaps part of it is "the NYC-Philly thing" as you say, but it's more about Penn alumni being very competitive and seeing Columbia as a natural rival as a university, not as an athletic program (which to date, we clearly are not).

In the same way that some Philly residents harbor an inferiority complex toward New York, many Penn people seem to feel the same way toward Columbia.

At Thu Oct 15, 01:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Statistically, joint admits choose Columbia over Penn by a very comfortable margin. this can be confirmed by the admissions office. As a result, a lot of Penn students are Columbia rejects. Not so the other way.


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